Real Estate

Moulivakkam flat buyers still wait for justice, relief

| Updated on: Nov 01, 2016
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The financial and legal battle continues for over 75 hapless apartment buyers of Prime Sristi Housing’s property that will be razed tomorrow.

“The situation is no different for us now, for over two years we are stuck financially and the issue is only getting more complicated,” says Ratna Misra, one of the buyers of an apartment at the project at Moulivakkam, a southern suburb.

Over two years ago, one of the two 11-floored towers under construction by the developer suddenly came crashing down on June 28, 2014, killing 55 construction workers. Now, after a protracted legal battle, the second tower is all set to be demolished using controlled explosions.

Huge bank loans

In this tragedy, apartment buyers — mostly middle income families — have been left without relief as they face the prospect of repaying huge bank loans after losing life’s savings. Misra, who is the president of the Moulivakkam Trust Heights Affected Flat Buyers Association, said the buyers are hoping for some relief from the government.

Typically, buyers, most of them middle-income, monthly-wage dependent families, have invested their hard earned savings of ₹15-20 lakh and borrowed around ₹30 lakh from banks to purchase an apartment. Elderly people had invested their entire retirement funds. Though buyers had shelled out the monthly loan repayments even after the first building collapsed, many simply could not sustain payments. So, the issue is getting more complicated with banks initiating action in Debt Recovery Tribunal, she said.

No support from govt

P Anirudh, an apartment buyer, said the association has approached the National Consumer Forum, Delhi and the case has been on for nearly two years. The buyers had approached the State government for assistance, but nothing has happened yet. Even the government-appointed Reghupathy Commission to look into the case had recommended that the buyers be supported, he said.

An individual associated with the project speaking on condition of anonymity said the total commitment by the buyers is about ₹30 crore. The plot is just over one acre. If the government takes over the property at fair market value, the buyers could be adequately compensated.

Controlled explosions

P Ponlingam, Managing Director, Mag Link Infraprojects (P) Ltd, the private contractor handling the demolition, said the building will be ‘imploded’ using controlled explosions that will cause the tower to collapse upon itself. When the explosives go off tomorrow afternoon, the entire structure will come down within seconds and the dust will settle in a few minutes.

But, for the buyers, the issue will drag on.

Published on January 15, 2018

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